Tempe, Arizona rapper lil summer and OT$LK are on the rise

It’s been a little over a month since Arizona rapper lil summer, born Samion Clark, dropped his latest EP Smoke Sum Glo Up! Racking up several thousand listens, his smoked out flows, often knocked down a few octaves, and his intoxicating beat selections give you a direct look into his mind. “Utilizing every aspect of [his] voice,” he entrances his listeners by “changing [his] voice tempo to singing the ad-libs.” Gathering fans from across the country, his musical reach extends far and wide.

Growing up in a musical family, his parents met through the power of music after being in a church choir together. Raised in Memphis, TN, he moved out when he was 18, telling me that “you grow up a lot faster than most” when living there. Working hard to make a name for himself and separate from the rest of his peers, he tells me that he is “in love with the process. Having a good work ethic is like believing in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one will.

Now 21 years old, summer has been making music for just 2 years. Recording and engineering all of his own music while grabbing some production assists from producers like sthlm, quiet wyatt, and young emphasis, just to name a few, he can really cultivate his sound and create the vibe that he wants on a track. Pulling inspiration from his life and friends, he stressed the importance of the vibe in the room before he can create. Capturing the current energy in the room at the moment of recording the song, the vibes that come out of the booth reflect the atmosphere in which it was created. Inspired by some of the rap greats like Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Pharrell, lil summer is carving his name into the rap game.

It is clear that summer realizes that without the pillars of hip-hop like the aforementioned rappers as well as another favorite of his Speaker Knockers, who tragically passed away in March of 2014, there wouldn’t be a new school style at all. Ever evolving from those who came before, rap is in a constant state of change and innovation. Currently listening to artists like Trippie Redd, Playboi Carti, and Pierre Bourne, summer actively sees all the connections between the generations of hip-hop. Everyone has a unique voice and he appreciates those who break into the industry with a fresh sound and creative mind.

With ambitions of “paving the way for the next generation of music,” the Arizona rapper aims to “show that if you be yourself and [if you] be different, nothing can stop you in this world.” Something that I found compelling in our interview with him was his humility and his goals to provide an example. Self-expression is a crucial part of life and there are so many that do not have an outlet to truly express their feelings. He wants to be that voice. He wants to light up people’s lives and bring people together through his vibrations booming from the speakers.

He linked with his crew, comprised of Backwood Bobby, Hurtboi, quiet wyatt, and OTS Mally, after he moved to Arizona a few years back. Collaborating as a team on most, if not all of their music, the chemistry between these fantastic rappers and producers is apparent when listening to their musical catalogue. Rising through the underground, this creative collective is out for blood. All working and grinding together and releasing new music consistently, the hunger in their eyes is never satisfied. Striving to release better and better music with each new single or project, the group as a whole will only grow from here.

Continuously working on new material, lil summer tells me that he has projects ready to drop whenever he feels the vibe is right. Always working to improve on his craft and put out better music, he works tirelessly in the booth to rap and croon his way over euphoric instrumentals and bass-heavy beats. Outside of rapping he is learning to create and edit his own visuals to enhance his musical brand as a whole. Clearly on his grind, expect big things from this guy going forward.

Listen to his latest project here!